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Navicent Health Recognizes World Breastfeeding Week

August 1-7 Designated to Highlight Health of Babies, Mothers

MACON, GA (Monday, August 3, 2015) - In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, held August 1-7, the Family Birth Center at the Medical Center, Navicent Health (FBC) seeks to raise community awareness about the importance of breastfeeding and creating environments conducive for mothers to breastfeed. The theme of this year's observance is “Breastfeeding and Work - Let's Make It Work!”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, human breast milk is preferred for all infants, including those who are sick or premature. Recent studies have shown that babies who are breastfed exclusively for six months are less likely to develop ear infections, stomach viruses, respiratory illnesses and meningitis. Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop illnesses later in life, including childhood obesity, high cholesterol, allergies, diabetes, and childhood cancers. Studies have also shown that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers for the mother, and creates a strong bond between the mother and child.

“When we look at the multiple benefits of breastfeeding for both the infant and the mother, it is easy to see why we should observe this week to highlight the importance of breastfeeding, and renew our commitment to create environments conducive for breastfeeding,” said Dr. Christy Peterson, Pediatrician with Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital.

FBC is committed to encouraging breastfeeding and giving new mothers the tools necessary for success. FBC recently completed the Georgia Department of Public Health 5-STAR Initiative, implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as defined by Baby-Friendly USA. While the program at FBC is helpful in establishing good breastfeeding habits, lactation consultant Lee McWilliams points out that a number of factors can contribute to - or hinder - success.

“We provide the tools for successful breastfeeding in the hospital and hope that will carry over once the mother and infant are discharged home. However, many of our mothers struggle with breastfeeding and returning to work. We encourage employers and coworkers to permit new mothers time, space and privacy to nurse or express. A good support network is integral to the success of breastfeeding,” said McWilliams.

McWilliams also recommends that new mothers do the following:

  • Check with your insurance provider to ask if breast pumps are covered under your plan.
  • Begin pumping approximately four weeks after delivery in order to familiarize yourself with the pump and store milk before returning to work.
  • Purchase extra pump kits so that work time is not used to clean breast pump parts.

In addition to the tools offered after a child's birth, FBC hosts monthly classes for parents-to-be, including free breastfeeding classes. This class is taught by an internationally board certified lactation consultant who discusses the benefits of breastfeeding and reviews techniques to assist new parents. The next class will be offered on Saturday, August 15, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. To learn more about this class and other course offerings and to register, please visit call 478.633.BABY (2229).